I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, But I Sure Know Where I’ve Been.

Uncle Volodya says, "History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

Uncle Volodya says, “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

Yes, I know that’s David Coverdale, and he’s not Ukrainian. Actually, he was born in Saltburn-By-The-Sea, so let’s just thank him for a neat title, forgive him for his stint with Deep Purple, and move on.

My patience in waiting for another guest post to appear (I prefer to call it that rather than idleness, for obvious reasons) has been richly rewarded, and our friend and colleague Marko Marjanovic (whom we also know as hoct, the Hero Of Crappy Town) has stepped up to the plate with an extremely interesting article on the motivations which have led the people of the Donbas to remove themselves from the Ukrainian lemming-march to Yurrup. The mainstream media persist in casting the people of the region as “pro-Russian rebels”. Are they, really? Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much. While they would most likely be very appreciative of Russian help if it would keep the Ukrainian army off their necks, many – perhaps most – are interested in carving out their own space in history rather than being part of a common heritage, either Russian or Ukrainian. Take it away, Marko;

The Rebellion in East Ukraine Is a Civic Revolution, Not an Ethnic Insurgency

Have you noticed how the English-language media describes the rebels in Donbass? Most of the time it deems them “pro-Russian rebels” which is a little bit like describing the Patriot faction of the American Revolution the “pro-French rebels”. Surely the rebels see Russia in a positive light, but surely that is tangential to what really makes them tick. However, a designation of this sort must at least be commended in the sense that it is an admission on the part of the English-language press of how little it is certain of. Most of the time all it knows is that the rebs like Russia, and does not to try to guess at the rest.

It is at other times that the media has feigned knowledge where they could have done real damage. In a minority of cases, reports and commentary have designated the rebels the “ethnic Russian rebels”. This seems convenient, and doubtless gives the outsiders a sense of clarity and certainty, but that is precisely what is so dangerous about this extraordinarily misleading characterization.

Once the anti-government faction is deemed to be made up of “ethnic Russian rebels” the story becomes a familiar one. The rebels are Russians and they are fighting because they are Russians. It is an inter-ethnic conflict between Russians and Ukrainians. Only, it is not.

Regardless of how great or important one thinks the differences between Ukrainians and Russians are, the fact is that in the limited geographic space of south-eastern Ukraine, and particularly in Donbass, this distinction is neither great nor significant to the people who live there. Ukrainians and Russians in south-eastern Ukraine are part of the same ethnic coalition, and have been amalgamating into one body ever since these lands were first opened to colonization from historic Ukraine and Russia proper. The British-Ukrainian historian Taras Kuzio put it this way[1]:

“Identities in eastern-southern Ukraine are a mixture of local, east Slavic and Soviet. While recognising that they are different to Russians living across the former Soviet internal administrative, now Ukrainian-Russian, interstate border they do not differentiate between Russians and Ukrainians within eastern-southern Ukraine. They are all, after all, Russian-speakers in a region where all national cultures had largely been eradicated in urban centres and where few people are religious. Linguistic, religious or cultural markers of separate identity between Ukrainians or Russians in eastern-southern Ukraine do not therefore really exist.”

The peculiarity of identity in south-eastern Ukraine actually goes further than that. The identity of many people in the region appears fluid and ambiguous. When asked whether they are Russian or Ukrainian they are not necessarily in a position to give a simple answer, and may resent being pressed to do so. Numerous people regard themselves at least somewhat Ukrainian and at least somewhat Russian at the same time.

Thus a poll carried out in Ukraine in 1997 found that if given a range of choices a quarter of respondents across the country gave their identity as both Ukrainian and Russian at the same time. 56% of those asked declared themselves to be Ukrainians, 11% to be Russians, but 27% opted for some variant of Russian-Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Russian.[2]

Indeed, the last Soviet population census found Ukraine to be inhabited by 37.5 million Ukrainians and 11.3 million Russians, but the first and only population census carried out in independent Ukraine found 37.5 million Ukrainians and 8.3 million Russians instead. The reason the number of census Ukrainians could stay constant while the number of census Russians fell by 25% is clear. Upwards of 2 million people had transferred their census nationality from Russian to Ukrainian.

It should be understood that there is no sharp Russian-Ukrainian ethnic dichotomy across large swathes of Ukraine, and furthermore it is precisely in the Donbass region that has risen up in rebellion to the government in Kyiv that this dichotomy is the weakest. Instead of a sharp delineation between the two ethnic communities there is an amalgamated Russian-Ukrainian community and a great deal of fluidity and ambiguity between the two nationalities. Numerous people are comfortable identifying as both Ukrainian and Russian at the same time, and furthermore do not believe there is, or should be, any great difference between the two. The fight then is clearly not between Russian and Ukrainian. The war is not about who the rebels in the south-east are, but what they believe in.

The rebels and their most ardent supporters no longer believe in Ukrainian nation-building. They do not conceive of the Ukraine as the proper political unit for them. This is apparent from their rejection of Ukrainian national symbols and ambition to build up local people’s republics. Many may have considerable, or even mainly, Ukrainian ethnic ancestry, but do not consider themselves part of the Ukrainian political nation. Some are happy to concede that they are Ukrainian, but do not want Ukrainians as a separate political nation from other East Slavs.

Just as numerous citizens of Ukraine between 1989 and 2001 transferred their census nationality from Russian to Ukrainian, so numerous Ukrainians (particularly Russians-Ukrainians) can transfer their allegiance away from Ukrainian nation-building and decide that their proper political community is not the Republic of Ukraine, but the People’s Republic of Donetsk/Lugansk or the Confederation of Novorossia.

The Donbass rebellion is not a war of the kind we have seen in the Balkans with its sharp ethno-national divisions. It is more like the American Revolution, or the American Civil War. It is a rebellion of people who no longer subscribe to the Ukrainian national project, but who are not necessarily ethnically distinct from those who continue to do so. It is neither a rebellion of Russian-speaking Ukrainians nor of ethnic Russians. It is a rebellion of those Ukrainian citizens who want to remove themselves from the project of Ukrainian nation-building.

[1] Taras Kuzio, Ukraine: State and Nation Building (London: Routledge, 1998), 73-74.

[2] Oxana Shevel, “Nationality in Ukraine: Some Rules of Engagement,” East European Politics and Societies 16, no. 2 (2002): 387-417. citing Andrew Wilson, The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 219.

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1,110 Responses to I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, But I Sure Know Where I’ve Been.

  1. cartman says:

    Looks like its another phony institute with a ranking designed to put Russia squarely at or near the bottom

    “sam i am

    This “slave statistics” is nothing but pure hate-Russia lie and evil anti-Russia propaganda.
    Simple research reveals many of this sort fake “funds” and “foundation” established in 2013 in obvious preparation for the putsch in Ukraine and the war on Russia and linked to Brookings and other American political and military “think tanks.”

    Founded in 2013-02-01 and registered in the name of Fergus Hanson, a nonresident fellow in Brookings’ Foreign Policy program and the Director of Polling and Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. Over the years, even prior to the fascist putsch in Ukraine, Fergus Hanson excessively wrote rabid hate-Russia pseudo political analyses.

    The saddest thing is you are reading the propaganda that the ruling elite invented for you and actually believe in it. Stupid is as stupid does.”

    • yalensis says:

      “Washington’s charge d’affaires, Andre Goodfriend…”
      Where do they come up with these names?
      Goodfriend (=the diplomat)
      Breedlove (=the war general)
      (and the rest of the colourful cast of characters)

      Here are some more suggested names that they should give to Western operatives (with apologies to “The Rake’s Progress”):

      Tom Rakewell, a Rake
      Nick Shadow, his Manservant
      Anne Trulove, his Betrothed
      Mother Goose, a Whore

      • Jen says:

        Those names must be straight out of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and the Hollywood movie versions of them. The villains and Bond babes alike had odd names.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know why countries like Hungary don’t kick out the U.S. diplomatic presence as soon as they observe behaviour like this. He should be just given 48 hours to get out of the country, because anger over his interference will only be interpreted as fear and weakness on the part of the government, and will encourage him to intensify his efforts. He should just be invited to leave, at his earliest convenience. Any forming of resistance to his presence now will be characterized as fear of dissent and protest, and it’ll be rent-a-protester all over again just like it was at Maidan, while the western press reports tremendous momentum and the good old “grass-roots movement” which is only gathering strength. The people voted Orban in. The USA wants him out. Who will prevail? It should not even escalate to a contest – it is none of America’s business, and its only interest in Hungary’s affairs is destabilizing the government in hopes it can cause it to fall. Only look to Ukraine if you would like to see an example of what a catastrophe Hungary would be if it does not take immediate and firm action.

      • ThatJ says:

        “I don’t know why countries like Hungary don’t kick out the U.S. diplomatic presence as soon as they observe behaviour like this.”

        I agree.

  2. davidt says:

    Victor Galenko, Vice President of Russian Aeronautical Society reckons MH17 with Su-27 is fake, but is adamant MH17 was shot down by Su-27:
    Why does he say Su-27? He claims various members of militia saw the jet and identified it as a Su-27. Why didn’t this “evidence” surface earlier, and who told our “faker”?

    • yalensis says:

      Hi, David,
      I see the niqnaq piece. I don’t think it introduces anything new.
      For starters, the argument about the 24-hour time.
      Is true that it was highly unusual for anyone to mark time on something official as (UTC) 1:19:47 when they actually mean 13:19:47. Even if somebody did (amateurishly) use 12-hour time, then they would have included the “PM”. Instead, they just put 1:19 on the satellite photo. Everybody knows that the plane was shot down around 1:20 PM, so they should have said “1:19 PM” or, even better, used 24-hour time 13:19.
      On the other hand, niqnaq is a bit off when he says “Everybody in aviation uses 24-hour time.” because this unorthodox use of 12-hour time (if that is what it is) was not used IN AVIATION. It was the marking on the satellite photo itself. Which was the product (a photo) of an American satellite.
      I agree that this timestamp is an argument in favor of the photo being a fake, but it is not an insuperable argument. In presenting this to a jury, one would have to stipulate that the time is recorded stupidly, and that somebody stamped 12-hour time on the photo and forgot to say “PM”. Again, looks bad, but not insuperable, IMHO.
      Actually, a clever lawyer could turn this gaffe to his advantage, by saying: “A real forgerer would have been more careful to stamp the proper time, in the proper format.”

      • davidt says:

        What was new to me was the claim that some militiamen had said that they identified the mystery jet as a Su-27- I hadn’t seen such a specific claim before. (Again I wonder why it took 4 months for such a claim to surface, and I wonder why a Su-27 appeared in the photograph and not a Su-25 that I, as a forger, would have inserted.) Best, D

        • marknesop says:

          It did raise a point that I have never seen anywhere before; the colour of the other plane according to eyewitnesses. They say it was blue. Most of the SU-25’s in Ukraine are green. SU-27’s are blue, reflecting their role – the SU-27 is an air-superiority fighter, while the SU-25 is a ground-attack tankbuster. It’d be awfully difficult for them to see that kind of detail from that distance, though, I’d think. Especially if there was cloud cover, as they say there was.

          As I mentioned before, I think most sources only went with the SU-25 because the Russians seemed insistent it was an SU-25 or perhaps more than one. The SU-27 is better-suited to have carried out the attack in every respect.

          However, the photo-is-a-lying-fake controversy has had the unlooked-for (from the western standpoint) effect of focusing attention on the possibility of an aircraft having been the killer rather than an SA-11 from the ground, and the level of interest in the debate suggests to me that a lot of people believe that is a possibility.

          • Jen says:

            Was it the Russian Defence Ministry who first posited the notion that an Su-25 might have been the fighter craft identified and then the Russian Society of Engineers worked off that assumption while investigating the shootdown? I think one reason the idea of the Su-25 having been the craft that was sighted by eyewitnesses and on Russian radar was that on radar it could be confused with a MiG-29 and the Ukrainian air force has both aircraft types plus the Su-27.

            Incidentally Su-27s are armed with GSh-301 cannons on their starboard wing root so if a Su-27 did attack the Boeing 777 on that plane’s portside, then the fighter craft and the Boeing 777 must have been flying in much the same direction. The MiG-29 carries GSh-301 cannons on its portside wing root so it would have to face the Boeing 777 to shoot the captain. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

        • davidt says:

          If Galenko is correct, then presumably some relatively senior Russian officers were told very quickly that the militiamen believed that they had identified a Su-27 near the stricken Boeing. In deed, you would think this would be an item of some urgency and that the Russian Ministry of Defense would know this before they gave their press conference. So why did they explicitly say Su-25? (And why did the Union of Engineers say Su-25 or Mig-29, and still not allow for a Su-27? Don’t these people talk with one another?)
          By the way, the only comment about the color that I heard an eye witness give was “silvery”.
          One positive aspect about this latest episode is that the MSM has acknowledged that there is another scenario about the downing of mh17.

    • yalensis says:

      And the rest of the niqnaq arguments are just a repeat of the Katz/Varlamov series of arguments, about the hypotenuse of the triangle and the length of the runway, etc. Arguments which Shultz already refuted successfully (IMHO), when he introduced the concept of the “telescope in space”.

      Just asserting that something “is a very poor montage and clearly a fake” is not really an argument. Real proof would involve showing the seams in the photostop, shadows out of alignment, that sort of thing. OR irrefutable mathematics taking optics into account.

      Until and unless “peter” can present me with irrefutable mathematical formulas about “hyper-focal distances”, etc., I still contend that the only convincing argument that “the photo is a fake” is that corkscrew cloud in the tiny quadrant. Everything else can be explained away pretty neatly, and even the cloud can be explained away, if one presumes that Google went over to the Dark Side. As Shultz says, “The satellite image was not composed from Google Earth. Google Earth was composed from the satellite image!”
      Which makes sense because, er, Google Earth archives ARE composed from satellite images. No?

  3. peter says:

    … prove that it’s out of scale.

    OK yalensis, let’s do it. Slowly.

    1. Look carefully at the image in question around the halfway point between the two planes and find the Donetsk airport

    Let me know when you’re done.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      There will now follow an example of the Socratic Method of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

      Or maybe not?

      It takes two to tango.


    • yalensis says:

      Oi! okay, here we go….
      Fine, I see the Donetsk airport. It’s that whitish thing that looks like a cannon shooting to the left.
      Okay, what’s next, O Revered Master Po?

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – I’m one step ahead of you, Socrates, because I already know what point you’re building up to, and Shultz already addressed that point.
        Something to do with a 50 km distance, am I right?
        Which it will take you 10 years of mockery to eventually get to?

        The key concept here, Mr. Archimedes, is that BOTH OBJECTS ARE IN MOTION.

      • peter says:

        Fine, I see the Donetsk airport.

        2. Grab a ruler and measure (a) the length of the airport’s runway, and (b) the wingspan of the Boeing…

        Post your measurement results here.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear peter:

          How about you grab a ruler, stick it up your arse, and then do the math problem I ordered you to do. And please show your work, otherwise I can’t give you credit.

    • astabada says:

      I’m not an expert on imaging but the airport and the airliner have the same size on the picture (~1 cm). This means that they have the same angular size on the focal plane, and doing the maths (real sizes are 4000 m and ~70 m) implies that the distance between the camera and MH17 was very small (to a level of ~69/70 of the altitude of the satellite). At 10000 m (the altitude of MH17) this translates to ~150 m difference in altitude, which rules out a satellite source.

      Please peer review me

      • Moscow Exile says:

        @ astabada:

        You do realize that your posting of a one-paragraph, succinct explanation of that which possibly forms the basis of what peter most likely would have used as an argument against yalensis’ proposition has, in fact, robbed markensop of at least 200 hits that would have ensued as a result of week-long discourse using the Socratic method of enquiry?

        I hope you’re bloody satisfied!


      • astabada says:

        @Moscow Exile

        I knew it was a bad idea when I gave Mark my real name… Now he’s going to sue me!

        @yalensis, peter

        I am not sure if this was a long standing dispute, but apologies if I interfered. Hope nobody is too upset (apart from Mark, naturally).

        • marknesop says:

          Hey, it’s all good. We are not that hit-starved; in fact, our 1000-per-day-plus average has kept up nicely and we are soon to roll through 850,000 on our way to our first million.

          I thought your rationalization was rather good, and I must confess I have become interested, although my Grade-9 math ensures this is well outside my scope of contribution. We shall have to see where Peter takes us next, and it will likely jump to the next post because this one has pretty much run its course. For Marko, there was a late-breaking surge of interest which probably doubled the numbers I gave you. Great job, and thanks again. I also note the piece was picked up by Russia Insider, although it does not attribute it to Marko, just to this blog. Anyone following up would know it was Marko who wrote it, though. I don’t get credit for it, either, which of course I should not because I didn’t write it; it’s one of our lurkers I’ve not heard of before.

          So if it’s not a satellite photo – what is it? A drone? What else would be flying that high, taking pictures? Would a drone use a similar photo setup to a satellite (only in miniature, of course, because of the size)? Or are the inconsistencies just because it’s a fake with both planes injected?

          • astabada says:

            I thought your rationalization was rather good, and I must confess I have become interested, although my Grade-9 math ensures this is well outside my scope of contribution.

            Here is a sketch of how I reached the conclusion. I used a simplifying assumption, namely that the size of the airport runaway and of the airliner are the same on the focal plane. This is true to within 10% (10mm vs 9mm on the picture peter attached), therefore my results hold to a similar precision. This assumption means that you do not have to worry about the particular number called tg(Α), because it is elided.

            So if it’s not a satellite photo – what is it? A drone? What else would be flying that high, taking pictures? Would a drone use a similar photo setup to a satellite (only in miniature, of course, because of the size)? Or are the inconsistencies just because it’s a fake with both planes injected?

            At this stage I cannot answer this question. I suspect a Fourier/wavelet analysis of the original image could help address whether the image has been manipulated.

            I do not understand what peter means when he says:

            Idiot. (hint:angle of view)

        • Jen says:

          Astabada, you actually (hopefully?) nipped the dispute in the bud. We’ve already seen Peter pulling copper wire from a penny twice with someone else and I for one wasn’t keen on seeing it done a third time, especially if the other person didn’t have a physics background as was the case the previous times. No apology needed!

          • yalensis says:

            Oh, don’t worry, Jen, I wasn’t actually going to allow peter to torture me with his convoluted pseudo-logic and fake-Socratic method. If he can do the math, then let him do it and show us his work.
            I am not able to do the math myself, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to give him the satisfaction!

            In any case, it looks like clever astabada already did the math that peter was not able or willing to do!

            In conclusion, looking like it was a drone that took the picture. Probably an American drone. Which would explain why the drone-handler made the gaffe of marking the time in 12-hour time. Something that a low-ranking soldier might do, that a rocket scientist would not.

            Or, the picture could be fake. But I doubt it. Probably a drone with a camera.

            • marknesop says:

              The army typically works in 24-hour time, and junior soldiers are if anything more conscientious about observing that rule in their attempts to leave their civilian selves behind. However, it is possible if this was a drone that it was piloted by a civilian. Some of them are, and the individual would not even have to be in Ukraine.


              The time could have come from a timestamp the surveillance apparatus – whatever it was – put on the photograph, because someone countries away might not think to put the local time. Thing is, though, whatever this is is above the airliner, which is already above 30,000 feet itself. Pretty high for a drone, which is so tiny you can’t see it from the ground when it’s at 10,000 feet.


              Certainly possible – the USA’s Global Hawk has a maximum altitude of more than twice that – but typically drones are much lower because they want as much detail from the surface as possible. Somebody would have had to have a pretty good reason to be flying a drone up at 40,000 feet or so, and they’re not fast so it would have taken it some time to get there. That suggests either prepositioning or a fluke.

      • kirill says:

        Using the formula h = t_h/d where h is the apparent height, t_h is true height and d is the distance between the observation point and the object, your math is correct. The 150 m difference in altitude would be consistent therefore with the other jet fighter in the area. Recall that there were supposed to be two of them. I do not know why it would photograph the scene, perhaps for blackmail purposes. Anyway, Kiev retains 100% culpability for routing MH17 over the center of a war zone. This was no accident. The weather conditions over the Sea of Azov on that day could have been bypassed over Kharkov.

        • peter says:

          The 150 m difference in altitude would be consistent therefore with the other jet fighter in the area.

          Idiot. (hint:angle of view)

          • yalensis says:

            Dear peter:
            Once again, like I said before, if you KNOW something, or THINK you know something, then just lay it out to us peons, and be sure to show us your math, so that it can be peer reviewed online.

            Otherwise stop calling people idiots, because no one is impressed by your antics.


  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Украинские хроники: Порошенко заявил о готовности к тотальной войне с Россией

    Ukrainian News: Poroshenko has announced his preparedness for total war with Russia


    The President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, admitted recently in an interview with the German magazine “Bild” that the Ukrainian authorities had used the ceasefire to bring up reserves and to regroup troops for a subsequent offensive in the war.

    With whom? The answer is simple: with Russia. “Let them join battle, even though they say they haven’t been taking part in the war …”, the Ukraine Head of State is unable to stop.

    “I am not afraid of going to war with the Russian army: we are prepared for a total war scenario. Our army is now in much better condition than it was five months ago, and we have support from all over the world. Our soldiers have shown that they can defend our country. We want nothing so much as peace, but, unfortunately, we have at the same time to prepare for the worst scenario”. Poroshenko’s hysteria is quite understandable: he needs to distract the people’s attention with the idea of an external enemy, because it is difficult to explain how bad things are going with the Ukraine, if it is waging war with pizza-peddlers, miners and truck drivers. However, there have not been any Russian troops in the Ukraine, neither before nor right up to the present day.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I should imagine that using the United States English vernacular in reply to Poroshenko’s above reported posturings, a suitable vulgar expression would be: “Bring it on, baby!”

      I should prefer to say, however, something like: “Get f**ked, you fat tw*t!”, which is something that Shakespeare would have said, I’m sure.


  5. Paul says:

    Returning to the original post about the nature of the war in Ukraine, we had an interesting conference here a week or so ago which covered the subject. I have some details here: http://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/debating-the-war-in-ukraine/

    Given the forum (Ukrainian studies conference in Canada), the results were surprising. You might find them interesting.

    • colliemum says:

      Thanks for the link – these papers you highlight are indeed surprising.
      Perhaps there is hope that sanity somewhere is beginning to reappear!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And the three papers, whose content and arguments are briefly described in the above posting, do not wholly accord with that narrative which has been relentlessly pushed by the USA, the EU and the “International Community”, wherein the very idea that right wing extremists played an essential and leading role in the Maidan “peaceful protests” and the eventual overthrow of Yanukovichit is continuously ridiculed as simply being lies and propaganda from the “fascist” Kremlin, which place was and still remains the source of the root cause of dissent in East Ukraine, in that Kremlin agents and Russian military personnel have played a leading role in the insurgency and continue to do so.

      And they’ve still not let up on that narrative.

  6. et Al says:

    The fear mongering goes on!

    First up:
    Independent: Russia’s warplanes are risking passenger jets, warns Nato chief
    Jens Stoltenberg believes that Russian planes that do not follow safety procedures are risking the safety of civilian planes

    …Mr Stoltenberg told The Telegraph: “The problem is that many of the Russian pilots don’t turn on their transponders, they don’t file their flight plans and they don’t communicate with civilian air traffic control.

    “This poses a risk to civilian air traffic and therefore this is a problem, especially when the Russian activity increases – because they have more Russian military planes in the air.”…

    …Mr Stoltenberg’s intervention comes after the European Leadership Network (ELN) published a report earlier this month that found almost 40 close encounters had occurred between Nato, Russian and civilian aircraft in the past eight months….”

    So there you have it. Russia doesn’t do what NATO wants it to do and it is not fair! If only the Russians would just sit at home, eat potatoes and drink too much vodka (and presumably die off). How NATO must miss the Yeltsin years! Probably not as now their propaganda by themselves and their acolytes (ELN – which includes the usual suspects RUSI etc.) means that they can frighten civilian politicians to spend billions more on weapons.

    The Irish Times: Is Russia flying a satellite killer around space? Unidentified Russian satellite prompts space weapon worries
    Satellite flying around space could point to revival of anti-satellite weapons, say experts

    ” A mysterious Russian object is being tracked by space agencies, giving new life to fears about the increase of space weapons.

    The satellite, dubbed Object 2014-28E, has grabbed the interest of official and amateur satellite-watchers because it is taking a confusing path and its purpose has not been identified, reports the Financial Times…

    “Whatever it is, [Object 2014-28E] looks experimental,” Patricia Lewis, research director at think-tank Chatham House and an expert in space security, told the FT. “It could have a number of functions, some civilian and some military. One possibility is for some kind of grabber bar.

    “Another would be kinetic pellets which shoot out at another satellite. Or possibly there could be a satellite-to-satellite cyber attack or jamming.”…”
    Another circle jerk transcribed NATO propaganda piece, this time via the usually excitable Financial Times rubbing itself off on an apparent ‘expert’ from another usual suspect Chatham House, who almost explodes with excitement over the possibilities her imagination can come up with, though it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the FT was as usual selectively quoting.
    I hope they all had enough tissues to go around.

    And how now Frau Merkel:

    Irish Independent: Russia threatening peace in Europe, warns Angela Merkel
    RUSSIA could seek to destabilise vast areas of eastern Europe if it is not challenged in Ukraine, Angela Merkel has warned.

    In a speech to Sydney’s Lowry Institute for International Policy Studies, the German Chancellor said Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilisation of eastern Ukraine “called the whole of the European peaceful order into question”.

    “This isn’t just about Ukraine,” she said. “This is about Moldova, this is about Georgia, and if this continues then one will have to ask about Serbia and one will have to ask about the countries of the Western Balkans.”

    Mrs Merkel said she feared the creation of a Cold War-style zone of influence in Europe where Moscow could demand consultation on any major decision….”

    Let’s just put that in to proper english for her shall we? “Russia is a threat to Germany’s own sphere of influence which at the moment encompasses the EU, the Balkans and right up to Russia’s border. It is the German way, or no way….”

    I don’t see German voters being convinced by Frau Merkel’s forced bleatings on behalf of her NATO colleagues. They all know that she has done the minimum possible within the EU and NATO to get dragged in to another American designed war which the US will be able to sit back and watch whilst picking up billions in weapons contracts. After all, A good portion of US power was build on the destruction of Europe.

    Really, NATO should move in to the milking business because if they can be this industrious with their propaganda and press releases that are repeated almost verbatim in the Pork Pie Media Network, NATO could have the biggest cow milking business in the world, second to none. Not even China.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, Frau Cow has indeed jumped over the moon for good – there is no further point in speculating as to what might have been the content of her hours-long tete-a-tetes with Putin, because as soon as you put her in front of a camera after its over, she recommences running her tongue over Uncle Sam’s boots and blathering about Putin invading Europe. She must be in line for a juicy billet at NATO or the UN or something, because since Maidan she has turned into an American foreign policy disc player. No use wasting any further attempts to reason with her. That’s bad news for Germany’s economy, and the American NGO’s would have no trouble at all mobilizing regime change against the good Frau. Of course, they won’t, because she and Jen Psaki are singing from the same song sheet.

      The battle lines are being drawn. It’s plain to see which side she is on.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Ooooh look! Tatyana Chornovol has been nominated for an award off Foreign Policy:

  8. ThatJ says:

    Kissinger Warns “We Need A New World Order”; Ukraine Should Forget Crimea & NATO

    Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger spoke about global threats, the secession of Crimea and Ukraine’s NATO accession

    Mr. Kissinger said that there currently is an urgent need for a new world order, but its coming into being will be long and complicated.

    “There are no universally accepted rules,” said Mr. Kissinger in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. “There is the Chinese view, the Islamic view, the Western view and, to some extent, the Russian view. And they really are not always compatible.”

    Speaking of Crimea’s accession to Russia, he noted that this is a special case, as Ukraine and Russia were one country for a long time. In his view, the West must recognize its mistakes.

    “Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev,” said Mr. Kissinger. “All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia.”

    He is sure that Ukraine has always had a special significance for Russia. Failure to understand this was fatal, and the Ukrainian authorities can forget about the Crimean peninsula.

    “Nobody in the West has offered a concrete program to restore Crimea,” said Mr. Kissinger. “Nobody is willing to fight over eastern Ukraine.”

    In his opinion, introducing anti-Russian sanctions was a mistake.

    “We have to remember that Russia is an important part of the international system, and therefore useful in solving all sorts of other crises, for example in the agreement on nuclear proliferation with Iran or over Syria,” Mr. Kissinger said. “This has to have preference over a tactical escalation in a specific case.”

    He added that Ukraine should not hope to become a member of NATO in the foreseeable future, as the alliance will never vote unanimously for the accession of Ukraine.


    Polar Vortex 2.0 Arrives – All 50 States Will Freeze Tonight

    3 months ago we warned US economic growth faced a challenge more powerful than any Fed-sponsored miracle could handle and 3 weeks ago Yellen’s worst nightmare began to loom on the chilly horizon. But tonight, from the depths of the night, the cruel monetary-policy-nullifying devil of Polar Vortex 2.0 arrives as all 50 states (yes even Hawaii) will see temperatures drop below freezing…


    • Paul says:

      Good to see that southern Texas avoids the cold, so that the annual conference of the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies in San Antonio this week can enjoy some warmth as the delegates no doubt engage in some relentless Russia-bashing. Also, I note that the map has turned Florida into a Ukrainian flag. Subliminal messaging maybe?

  9. davidt says:

    Alastair Crooke has a new article at “Conflicts Forum” that is probably worth a quick read
    In short, Crooke thinks tensions with Russia are set to escalate for the neocons have learnt nothing, and regret nothing.
    The Saker has also posted a couple of similarly pessimistic articles, and poses the philosophical question: “is Hillary Clinton evil?” Is there a Euclidean proof of this?
    “We’ll all be rooned, said Hanrahan”

  10. marknesop says:

    I had a bit of an epiphany whilst reading the snatch of verse which recounted the history of the Lambdon Wyrm. I began to feel a tingling suspicion when I read how it “grewed and grewed” until it “grewed an aaful size”, but those suspicions could no longer be denied when I read “He’d greet big teeth, a greet big gob, An greet big goggly eyes.”

    The Lambdon Wyrm has returned to earth. He is Petro Poroshenko. He has a great big gob that never seems to bring anything useful to either the discussion table or to Ukraine, and he does indeed have great big goggly eyes which suggest a circulatory crisis due to an unhealthy lifestyle and/or diet.

  11. marknesop says:

    “The collapse of the USSR in two stages — the withdrawal from eastern Europe in 1989 and the formal dissolution of the USSR in 1991 — should have meant in theory the end of any function for NATO. Indeed, it is well known that, when President Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR agreed to the incorporation of the GDR into the FRG, he was given the promise that there would be no inclusion of the WTO states into NATO. This promise was violated. Instead, NATO took on a new role entirely.”

    Holy Hannah. Who’s this guy? Immanuel Wallerstein? Never mind, it says right at the end of the article: Senior Research Scholar at Yale University, and the author of “The Decline of American Power: The U.S. in a Chaotic World”.

    Go read it. I got it from Danielle Ryan’s Twitter feed.


    • bolasete says:

      pepe escobar is a huge wallerstein fan.

    • davidt says:

      Alastair Crooke and Pepe Escobar refer to Wallerstein fairly frequently. (Not sure, but Escobar might have studied under him.) Wallerstein has his own blog, but doesn’t write very much:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      That this promise actually took place is always ridiculed and denied in some quarters, despite the fact that there is a clip (I posted it a couple of weeks ago) showing the former German foreign minister Genscher stating that such a promise was indeed made.

      Before seeing that clip, I had always thought it was only Gorbachev who had made such a claim.

      However, there’s nothing down in writing and witnessed concerning this matter, which is a godsend to those who deny that such a promise was ever made.

      On the one hand, therefore, we have from NATO, April 14, 2014:

      Russia’s accusations – setting the record straight

      Russian claims that NATO promised not to enlarge

      Russian officials claim that US and German officials promised in 1990 that NATO would not expand into Eastern and Central Europe, build military infrastructure near Russia’s borders or permanently deploy troops there.

      No such pledge was made, and no evidence to back up Russia’s claims has ever been produced. Should such a promise have been made by NATO as such, it would have to have been as a formal, written decision by all NATO Allies. Furthermore, the consideration of enlarging NATO came years after German reunification. This issue was not yet on the agenda when Russia claims these promises were made.

      and on the other hand we have from “Spiegel”, 2009:

      NATO’s Eastward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?

      Bonn’s allies in Paris, London and Washington were concerned about the question of whether a unified Germany could be a member of NATO or, as had already happened in the past, would pursue a seesaw policy between east and west.

      Genscher wanted to put an end to this uncertainty, and he said as much in a major speech to the West on Jan. 31, 1990 in Tutzing, a town in Bavaria. This was the reason, he said, why a unified Germany should be a member of NATO.

      Moving with Caution

      But how could the Soviet leadership be persuaded to support this solution? “I wanted to help them over the hurdle”, Genscher told SPIEGEL. To that end, the German foreign minister promised, in his speech in Tutzing, that there would not be “an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union.” East Germany was not to be brought into the military structures of NATO, and the door into the alliance was to remain closed to the countries of Eastern Europe.

      So the German foreign minister publicly promised that there would not be “an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union“.

      And yet NATO and its apologists continue to state that no such promise was made.

      What they really mean is that no such written promise was made.

      I should imagine that such a breach of a spoken promise would not stand up in court of law.

      If I were to promise to return a loan, yet did not write down such a promise, and then refused to pay back my debt, I am pretty sure that a court of law would enforce me to return that loan if it was proven in court that I had accepted that loan on the understanding that it would be returned, otherwise, the money that I had received would not have been a loan by definition.

      • marknesop says:

        I think Russia has finally learned not to trust the promises of the west, at least I hope so. But doubters of the promise’s ever having been made should ask themselves what would have been in it for Russia, otherwise. Did NATO say, “We’d really like to have the other half of Germany back, because they’re, like, a set”? And did Russia say “Oh, sure; why didn’t you say so”? As if. It was pretty clear that Russia was opposed to the idea, especially since it meant the west would have control over all Germany, and it should have been clear that Russia was offered some security in exchange for its assent. But the west probably thinks it is clever by saying there was no written promise, although earlier western leaders had been content to take Stalin’s scrawl on the back of his cigarette pack or some such, because they felt they got the best part of the deal. This shows you cannot take the west on its word, and even if the promise had been in writing, they would probably snort and giggle and say “France had its fingers crossed behind its back!! Ha, ha!!”

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It was revealed after her death that the much revered by some Margaret Hilda Thatcher was very much opposed to German re-unification. (Partial re-unification, really: there are still old Greater Reich territories separated from the Vaterland – 1914 boundaries or bust, say I!)

          Does that mean that in her eyes those damned Russkies were doing a good job in occupying a good chunk of the old Reich? Certainly seems so, if “Keep the Huns down at all costs!” was her motto, which it seems as it indeed was.

          See: Was Margaret Thatcher right to fear a united Germany?

          And lookee here! Dear sweet eternal martyr and most favoured fellatist to Uncle Sam – yes, I am talking about Poland – had fears concerning German re-unification as well.

          See: The Polish question: East Germany

          Well, who’d a’ thowt?

          Poland, or a large part of the population therof, would have preferred a divided Germany at its back whilst expanded it influence into and control over its own “lost territories”, otherwise known as the Ukraine west of the Dniepr, including Kiev – and a pretty large chunk of Belorussia as well.

          “From Sea to Sea” (the Baltic/Black Seas) they sing in one of their patriotic songs. They’re singing of the resurrection of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

          And many of them mean it.

          Just ask AP.

          (above) Piłsudski’s initial plan for a “resurrected” Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

    • et Al says:

      There was some talk in the mid-90s about the WEU (Western European Union) taking over NATO’s role, but being purely EU the US objected vociferously. What a lost opportunity.

      Current status: The WEU organs are undergoing a process of liquidation and closure. WEU will cease to exist as a Treaty-based International Organisation on 30 June 2011

      CATO Institute, September 18, 1995: The Western European Union as NATO’s Successor
      Washington unwisely clings to outdated Cold War policies instead of devising new policies that better address America’s security requirements in the post-Cold War era. Nowhere is that more evident than in the effort to maintain or even expand NATO, even though the enemy it was created to face, the Soviet Union, no longer exists, and the United States and Europe now have relatively few common security interests.

      The Western European Union, the security arm of the European Union, should replace NATO as the primary guarantor of European security. A robust WEU would have a number of advantages over NATO. WEU member states have many common security interests, in contrast to the increasingly divergent U.S. and European perspectives that have already produced serious disarray in NATO. The West European nations have ample economic resources and are capable of providing for their own defense without a U.S. subsidy. Finally, Moscow is likely to view the WEU as less provocative than a U.S.-dominated NATO—especially an enlarged version that expands to Russia’s borders.

      Maintaining NATO as the primary European security institution both is expensive and risks drawing the United States into military entanglements even when no vital American interests are at stake. Replacing NATO with the WEU would emphasize that most disputes in Central and Eastern Europe are more relevant to the European nations than to America and that dealing with such problems is properly a European responsibility. Moreover, once the West Europeans develop a full independent military capability, the WEU would be a strong partner for the United States in the event of a future threat to mutual U.S.-European security interests.

      Full Policy Analysis

      Click to access pa239.pdf

  12. Warren says:

    Everyone is talking about and condemning President Putin’s comments justifying the Nazi Germany-USSR Non-Aggression Pact. Timothy Snyder was condemning Putin in the NYRB blog.


    British historian Roger Moorhouse also criticised Putin and rejecting the Non-Aggression Pact being compared with the Munich Agreement (notice how no one uses the noun appeasement?).


    Grover Furr, the US marxist English professor and Soviet history expert, argues that the USSR never invaded Poland, as Poland ceased to exist when its government fled to Romania, only to be interned by the Romanians. The same country Poland had a purportedly had a defence alliance with, but failed to come to Poland’s aide.


    I’ve always heard of the “secret protocols”, I’ve never seen or read them, has anyone seen or read these “secret protocols”?

    • Max says:

      A no brainer. The R-M Pact was strategic genius. Stalin knew what the Nazis were up to. Didn’t he resist the Whites. Hadn’t he read Mein Kampf? Russia needed to buy time, and it did.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Never ever any criticism of the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact 1934-1939, though. is there?

        Nor is there any mention of the British-German Naval Agreement 1935 when discussing the squeaky-clean, we-never-did deals-with-Hitler West.

  13. yalensis says:

    I should have read this when it came out a couple of days ago (November 15). This theory fully jibes with astabada’s mathematical equations, as shown above.

    This is Evegeny Shultz again, with a continuation of his discussion about the “satellite photo” of the MH-17 attack. Which he now postulates was actually a photo taken by a drone called RQ-4 Global Hawk.

    Shultz begins by reiterating his refutations of the main points arguing that the photo is a fake:
    1. The photo cannot possibly be a screenshot from Google, since, if you google Google Earth for this time period in Donetsk, all you will find is a mosaic of various images taken from different times and randomly pasted together. You don’t find an intact Landschaft, such as the one in question.
    2. The mistaken identity of the attack jet (calling it a “MIG” instead of an “SU”) belongs to Leontiev alone (=the anchor of the TV show).
    3. People arguing that the plane is shown 50km away from the crash site proving that the photo is a fake; are also mistaken or lying. It is asserted that the Boeing was attacked 3 TIMES, first two times by rockets, and third (coup de grace) by air-cannon. The photo in question records the moments before the first attack. A plane flying at that speed and altitude has a certain amount of inertia, even after struck. It would not fall down vertically, it would fall in an arc. And even a wounded plane might continue to glide a bit. It is not at all far-fetched that the plane could cover 50 km even after wounded.
    4. The assertion, that the “fakers” used the first result from googling “Boeing seen from above” was successfully refuted. People who say that are knowingly lying.
    5. The format of the timestamp on the photo is given in American 12-hour format. People who say the timestamp does not correspond, and represents the middle of the night, are not taking that into account.
    6. The amateur geometrists who calculated the hypotenuse of the triangle with a simple (a2 + b2 = c2) formula, in order to calculate distances, are not taking into account the effect of a magnifying lens on the camera. To that point, it is obvious that the photo was taken with the assistance of optical devices. We do not know what type of device was used. For some reason, people have focused on the idea of a satellite in low orbit. But it could equally well be a drone. For example, an RQ-4 Global Hawk.
    7. Other evidence indicates that the Boeing was attacked on the left (pilot’s) side, yet the photo shows the rocket approaching the right (co-pilot’s side). People say this proves a fake. Not so. The person who leaked the photo claimed that the Boeing was attacked 3 times. The first 2 times by rocket, the third (coup de grace) by cannon into the pilot’s side of the cockpit. Besides, a rocket is not the same thing as a bullet, it has its own algorithm, it doesn’t have to fly in a straight line, necessarily.

    Next, Shultz reviews the original source of the photo, it was leaked here on October 15.
    The leaker wrote literally the following, as an attachment to the photo:
    Снимок, получен по рассылке от энтузиастов руского Викиликс, источник не называется. Время на снимке, по гринвичу, соответствует времени, указанному в данных объективного контроля, представленных миноборон РОССИИ. Судя по надписи -обозначениям международного времени, снимок мог быть с американского спутника или развед аппарата.

    This photo, obtained by enthusiasts from Russian Wikileads, source not given. The time on the photo, given in Greenwich time, corresponds to the time indicated in objective control data presented by the Ministry of Defense of Russia. Judging by the heading and the designations of international timestamp, the photo could have been from an American satellite or reconnaissance drone [emphasis mine]

    [to be continued]

    • marknesop says:

      Gee…I still don’t know. I completely buy the theory that the Boeing was deliberately shot down, not accidentally, and that it was deliberately shot down by another aircraft or perhaps more than one. I just don’t know if this is a photograph of it. The fighter looks awfully far away from the Boeing. But he could be firing a missile, I suppose (people keep referring to it as a “rocket”, but rockets are unguided and are typically a suppression weapon rather than one that must hit a specific target). One thing I completely do not buy is that sequence of events – if the plane was hit by something, the pilots would have communicated an emergency immediately. Whatever happened, the cockpit attack had to have been first, to silence the cockpit crew on the flight deck.

      And for anyone who wants to pour ridicule on those trying to reach a conclusion as to whether this is a fake or not – and I still think it probably is – I would point out that Dutch had three months to investigate, and the best they could come up with is that the plane was struck by a number of high-energy objects. Really? No shit.

    • et Al says:

      An RQ-4 would certainly dot the i’s and cross the t’s. But, wouldn’t it have to have its transponder on and be easily picked up by radar. If it was there, then everyone except the public knows this.

      • marknesop says:

        The Global Hawk is tiny, relatively speaking, and at that altitude you’d be lucky to get a hit off it. I’m pretty sure unmanned aerial vehicles do not carry IFF transponders.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Also, the Global Hawk is designed to be radar stealthy. It would be a big surprise if typical radars could detect it.

    • Patient Observer says:

      A drone-based explanation of the picture makes a lot more sense than a satellite picture for several reasons with the most important being the improbability of a US recon satellite passing over area at exactly the right time collecting an image at high resolution (rather than a wide angle low resolution picture for example).

      Per Wikipedia, the RQ-4 can cruise at 50,000 feet which seems in the ball park.

      These discussions imply that the US had foreknowledge of the details and for some reason wanted to document the attack. Perhaps it was for blackmail purposes or they wanted to chortle over the murders that they would blame on Russia. To use a Trumpism – “disgusting”.

  14. Pingback: Sacre Bleu! What’s Happening With The MISTRAL Ship “VLADIVOSTOK”? | The Kremlin Stooge

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    Minus 10 Celsius (14F) as I write in Moscow at 10:26, November 19, 2014: minus 1 Celsius (30.2F) in Kiev.

    And the gas bill has still not been paid in advance, as agreed, for its next delivery.

    They have said it will be paid before December 1st …

    I bet Porky and Yats are warm, though …

  16. katkan says:

    I know this is old and everyone’s moved on, but just to finalise it for any other future arrivals:

    The background image was determined to be from 2012 Google Earth image, based on a cloud formation and some more permanent structures on the ground. These guys are real good at this kind of thing

  17. Pingback: Who Are The Novorossian Rebels? | Putin, Putinites and Putriots

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